Call to reinforce SOP at factories

ALL factories within the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) in Penang have been told to tighten their standard operating procedures (SOPs) following the emergence of Covid-19 cases at six factories in the vicinity.

Penang trade and industry, and entrepreneurial development committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain said the state government has informed all the factories to take stricter preventive measures to stop further outbreaks.

“We visited some of the factories earlier and we can see that the SOPs are stringent but can be further enhanced.

“Many companies and factories are already telling their employees to work from home and the rest are on a rotational basis.

“While the government and factories are able to do certain things or take measures, the people need to know how to self-regulate as well.

“We hope everyone will follow the SOPs and be mindful of hygiene, ” he said at a press conference after the soft launch of International Inspirasi Khadijah Virtual 2020 in Komtar yesterday.

Abdul Halim said the situation was under control thus far as there was a reduction in the number of cases in Penang over the last few days.

“This is compared to two weeks before this when we saw double-digit cases being reported in the state, ” he added.

Several factories in the FIZ had to temporarily close for sanitisation and swab tests after active cases were reported.

It was reported that the temporary closure of certain multinational companies (MNCs) in Bayan Lepas in the past two weeks was necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow reportedly said if the companies were not closed for screening and sanitisation, it would lead to bigger damage and complete lockdown of the area.

He was responding to a report in The Star which said that at least five companies were suffering losses due to production downtime and shutdown for screening and sanitisation due to Covid-19.

The report stated that about 5,000 employees were working at the five affected MNCs with one Singapore-owned company recording a drop of 40% of its daily production after it was required to do mass screening for all 600 of its workers.

It was estimated that it would take at least a few days for the employees, including some 100 administrative staff and 500

production operators, to complete the swab tests carried out by the Health Ministry.

Most of the workers are foreigners staying at the workers’ hostel in Relau, where many Covid-19 cases were reported recently, believed to be linked to the Intan cluster.

On issues concerning the production line at factories, Abdul Halim said the companies were welcomed to voice their concerns.

“We have not received any reports about disruption to production lines so far.

“But if there are any, factories can voice their concerns or feedback and the state will see how we can assist them, ” he said.

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